Pace University students walking in front of 1 Pace Plaza in NYC.

Public Affairs Team

Jerry McKinstry
AVP, Public Affairs, based in Westchester County
Phone: (914) 773-3312

Jerry McKinstry leverages his strong ties to Westchester media, government, elected officials, the business community, and local organizations for Pace University. Since joining the team in August of 2019, Jerry has helped faculty and staff secure placements in regional and national outlets. A former reporter for The Journal News, columnist for Newsday, and contributor for News 12 in Westchester, he has also worked for the Westchester County Executive’s Office and has been an adjunct journalism professor. He works closely with his New York counterparts on state and federal matters, and manages the Office of Public Affairs for Pace University.

Sean Coughlin
AVP, Public Affairs, based in New York City
Phone: (917) 574-4544

Sean Coughlin joins Pace University with extensive experience in New York City government and politics. Having most recently served as chief of staff to Council Member Erik Bottcher, Sean also acted as special assistant to Council Speaker Corey Johnson and has worked on multiple city-wide and district level campaigns. He brings a passion for communication, engagement, and cooperation to Pace University and our neighbors.

Howard Matzner
Public Affairs Media Manager
Phone (914)-844-8897

Howard Matzner joins the Pace University Public Affairs team with over 20 years of experience working with New York City, national, and local media markets. In previous roles, he worked in a proactive and reactive capacity, pitching to and responding to media, oversaw and managed crisis communications, drafted op-eds, produced podcasts, and coordinated trade show events with media.

He has an extensive background in the healthcare, pharmaceutical, financial services and consumer services/goods verticals. In his role as Public Relations Manager, Howard provides media consulting and advice to university staff and faculty. Additionally, he tells the stories of Pace faculty, students, and administrators to the public.

Shannon Thyberg
Public Affairs Associate
Phone: (914) 773-3124

Shannon Thyberg joined Pace University’s Media Relations team in 2015. She coordinates and supports the schools with media opportunities, tracks all the media mentions and updates our website and the community about the important stories that shape Pace University. A former school teacher, Shannon is always ready to educate and spread the word about media and communications.

Madia Bestman
Public Affairs Fellow
Phone: (212) 346-1020

Madia Bestman is the Public Affairs Program Coordinator for both New York City and Westchester. She recently graduated from Pace University Pleasantville in 2020 with her BBA in Advertising & Integrated Marketing Communications. Since the beginning of her college experience, Madia has been an active student leader from her involvement in orientation, honor societies, and student organizations. Her passion for advocating for Pace students led her to become the Student Government Association President from 2019-2020. She is excited to be back at Pace to use her extensive institutional knowledge in her position and to advocate for Pace students.

Hitasha P. Nagdeo
Public Affairs Fellow
Phone: (929) 505-2260

Hitasha Nagdeo, a Public Affairs Fellow for New York City, graduated from Pace in 2023 with an MS in Social Media & Mobile Marketing. Throughout her academic journey at Pace, Hitasha showcased unwavering dedication through her active involvement in student clubs, managing two on-campus jobs, and volunteering with Kaplan Pathways. Her commitment to the university community is evident in her multifaceted engagement and she is excited to apply her knowledge in this role. As the Public Affairs Fellow, Hitasha brings a dynamic background and a spirit of dedication, poised to make a meaningful impact in shaping the future of public affairs in the heart of New York City at Pace University.